Movement is Life: Advice On How To Make Dialysis Less Tiresome

Joe Cosgrove has previously covered the topic of dialysis from all possible angles. In fact, one of the most important aspects of the things that surround this condition is the need for physical activity, for it has been proven that a dialysis lifestyle with limited or non-existent physical activity can worsen the condition and increase the risk of falling into severe depression, high blood pressure, lower and weaker immune function, heart disease and swelling in both feet and lungs.

Many dialysis patients firmly believe they cannot do any physical activity because the conditions prevent them from carrying out what would be traditionally considered “normal” exercise; however, it has been proven by many institutions, physicians and studies that even a mild and minor workout for short periods ranging from 15 to 20 minutes—of course, tailored to every case—can result in a positive outcome for those patients. Not only can regular physical activity cause a much healthier blood flow, stronger muscles and improve overall immune function, but it also will help maintain healthy tissue which is linked to aiding digestion, absorption, and metabolism in general.


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Dialysis patients must determine with their primary physician the type of workout they should attempt, paying special attention to not overheating during the exercise, for it can lead to increased fluid consumption and overload. Although extreme workouts like weight lifting should totally be avoided due to the fistula, those with heart conditions can definitely find exercise beneficial. It is fine to workout to a point where the individual feels tired and even short of breath to some extent; however, they should pay special attention to not getting past the point of exhaustion. Symptoms such as chest pain and sudden shortness of breath, and even severe muscular pain and joint pain should be enough for individuals to stop every physical activity and seek advice with their primary physicians.

When it comes to the nature of the exercises, there are plenty of choices. There are many indoor workouts and exercises those individuals on dialysis can carry out; however, as mentioned above, the wisest thing to do is to consult with a nephrologist prior to recklessly rushing into it. A doctor can tailor a workout routine that will aid those with this condition. For instance, one of the most important yet disregarded physical activities is stretching. Stretching has proven to be effective at warming up the muscles and ligaments, thusly increasing the blood flow across the body. And, above all, the best part of stretching is that it can be done pretty much anywhere and does not require special equipment.

Stretching is obviously crucial prior to executing more demanding exercises, as well as after a workout. And although it might seem almost pretty much self-explanatory, it is nonetheless advisable to first consult with the nephrologist what kind of stretching activities are best for each stage of the condition. Bear in mind that the idea is to avoid any kind of damage to the vascular access.

Cardiovascular workouts are also of tremendous importance for those individuals on dialysis. Cardiovascular exercises, commonly referred to as simply cardio, is linked to providing important benefits to the heart. People who have a home gym or are looking forward to putting one together should go for either a treadmill or a stationary bike since both are perfect options for cardiovascular indoor exercises. And even though not everybody has got enough space at home to bring in large pieces of equipment, there will always be alternatives such as jogging in place just to get the heartbeat up.


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A very wise thing to do is to keep a journal day after day. It is known that being on dialysis is quite nagging, but things can be improved nonetheless. Logging one’s progress each day by timing how long did the workout last is a way to push oneself towards a new personal mark—which provides emotional support and enhances current mood—. It is important not to disregard the tremendous effect striving to accomplish a goal can have on people under similar conditions. Renal failure, in this case, supposes a daunting challenge: individuals struggle with the condition, and the odds of falling victim of depression are high. However, and as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, not only is exercise beneficial for the condition but also brings along a much greater effect: improves mentality and attitude. No matter how nagging the condition may be, ceasing not to do everything to improve at least something about the whole picture is vital: it makes people mentally stronger while they improve their bodies.

Dialysis is not the end of the road: is quite a speed bump, but it can be made livable by setting the right expectations and internalizing the fact that movement is life. Work out and start making changes today.


10 Signs Of Kidney Disease You Need To Know

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition known by a gradual loss of kidney function over time.  In the United States, the incidence of chronic kidney disease is increasing more rapidly in people aged 65 or older, and in the last 15 years it has doubled. As it is the case with many diseases, early prevention and treatment are key to battling them. Checking your blood sugar level along with your doctor, maintaining good eating habits and a healthy body weight can go a long way in helping you prevent this and many other conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Here at Joe Cosgrove blog, we always bring you the best advice when it comes to everything having to do with your kidneys and the preventive health that comes along with these conditions. In today’s article, we want to talk about some of the most common symptoms and sign that while may seem unrelated to kidney health, they are very accurate indicators when present together, that something may be wrong and you should look into it.   

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Side Or Leg Pain

Pain is not usually a common symptom of chronic kidney disease and even pain that is felt in the area near the kidneys is usually not related to any renal condition. However, in some cases, those suffering from kidney problems may have pain located in the upper back area where the kidneys are or in the side of their torso. Sometimes these pains are related to other symptoms like bladder infections or cysts.

Changes In Urination

Changes in frequency or urges to urinate are only some of the most common symptoms related to kidney conditions. As the kidneys produce urine, it is common to also see urine that is particularly foamy, very pale or extremely dark in color or in some cases even containing blood. Difficulty urinating or feeling urges but being unable to discharge are also some commonly reported signs.

Itchy Skin

Since your kidneys work as a filter for toxins and remove waste from your bloodstream, their malfunctioning allows a build-up of that waste material in your blood, something that can cause severe itching all over your body and in some cases, visible rashes. It is not uncommon that patients scratch so much they break the skin.

Feeling Tired

Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin or EPO. The purpose of this hormone is to promote the creation of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less EPO, something that makes your muscles and brain tire very quickly. This is a common symptom of anemia. This feeling of being tired can be a symptom of many different things, but it is commonly present in kidney diseases.

Having Trouble Sleeping

When the kidneys aren’t working properly, waste stays in the blood rather than leaving the body through the urine. This can cause significant discomfort and inability to sleep. There is also a connection between obesity and chronic kidney disease, and sleep apnea is more common in those with chronic kidney disease, compared with the general population.

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When the kidneys aren’t working properly, it is common for the body to retain excess fluids that cannot be eliminated normally through the urine. This condition of retaining fluids can cause swelling in the legs, feet, ankles, hands and in the face especially around the eyes. This puffiness around the eyes has to do with retaining more protein than normal inside the body.

Nausea And Vomiting

Uremia is a condition in which the body is over-saturated with waste and toxin build-up. When this happens, it is common for people to experience a lot of nausea and vomiting. Having a metallic taste on their mouth is also common and it makes the condition the more unbearable.

Shortness Of Breath

Extra fluid can build up in the lungs and the shortage of red blood cells in the blood can lead to the feeling of being short of air. Trouble catching your breath is a very common condition related to most kidney diseases. Feeling like you can’t breathe is a terrible feeling and it should not be ignored if it happens, so if this is present, you need to see your doctor immediately.

Dizziness And Trouble Concentrating

Anemia can affect the brain by not delivering enough oxygen through the blood. This condition can cause dizziness, memory loss, and real difficulty when concentrating. Even some of the simplest tasks can be taxing on a person suffering from chronic kidney disease. This leads to mental exhaustion and irritability as well.

Poor Appetite

On top of being a symptom of its own, the loss of appetite is very common in patients with kidney disease or renal related issues, and it can be severely made worse by other symptoms like nausea and dizziness that can cause you to stop eating on their own. The buildup of toxins saturates the body and shut down hunger and the need for food and fluid intake.

What can cause kidney failure and how you can prevent it?

A silent disease that is affecting more than 26 million Americans and that according to research 1 out of 3 Americans is in risk of developing a kidney failure disease, kidney failure is a disease that can stay silent for several years and only manifest itself once you have already have a lot of damage. Most people are diagnosed when they suffer diabetes or uncontrolled blood pressure, but there are other ways of damaging your kidneys.  There are several causes that are becoming the main causes of Kidney failure, the most frequent ones are diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and heart disease. Once there is kidney failure the patient needs to start treatment with dialysis or with a kidney transplant. Joe Cosgrove has a great article about how you can identify if you have kidney failure, where you can follow up after this.


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What is it that Kidneys actually do?

Your kidneys are bean shaped internal organs that are located in your mid back, they have a very special mission: they are the ones in charge of cleaning your blood, maintaining a proper balance of minerals in your body as well as your blood pressure. Your kidneys have a renal artery and a renal vein, and are connected to your ureter, helping you re-absorb water, amino acids and sugar, as well as eliminating toxic waste through your urine.

What causes kidney failure?

There are two causes for having Kidney failure lets see a little bit more about each one:

1. Acute Kidney injuries

There are 3 main causes for suffering acute kidney failure: Having a very low blood flow to the kidneys; having a direct injury to the kidneys or having an excess of urine retained in the kidneys. However there are other reasons you can get Acute kidney failure, like taking some medicines or drugs that affect the kidney function, most common ones are antibiotics that contain gentamicin and streptomycin and pain pills that contain ibuprofen. Some of the symptoms you need to be aware of if you are not urinating enough during the day, if you have swelling in your feet and legs, feeling pain in your lower back and feeling nauseas. These kind of kidney failure can have different types of treatments, it can be with medication if it is not that severe, they can be to balance the amount of fluids in your blood, to control the levels of potassium or of calcium, when the degree of toxicity is higher then the patient will need dialysis to remove the toxins from the blood.

2. Chronic Kidney disease

This is the hardest one to diagnose since it’s being building up for years. Most frequent causes are diabetes, the leading cause for kidney failure right now or high blood pressure for many years that has been uncontrolled, at the moment about 165,000 patients have kidney failure due to high blood pressure. As well as the acute failure, consumption of many medicines that affect the kidneys function can lead to a chronic kidney failure. Most common symptoms you should be aware of are: increase or decrease of daily urine, swelling in several body parts, itchiness or numbness, dry skin, feeling nauseous, weight loss and muscle cramps. If you have a series of these symptoms visit your doctor and ask for a checkup a simple blood test can let your doctor know if your kidneys are failing. In Chronic Kidney disease most of the times the patient will need dialysis, the levels of toxicity in the blood flow is higher than normal and will need a detox to save the kidney from stop working for good. A great quantity of patients will be needing a kidney transplant as well.

How can you prevent kidney failure

  1. If you have diabetes you need to keep your sugar levels controlled under a targeted range that can be discussed with your doctor.
  2. If you have high blood pressure, try taking your meds and eating properly so you can keep it in a 130/80 range. Speak with your physician on how you can control your blood pressure.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight, being overweight can increase the possibility of having high blood pressure, develop a heart disease and even become diabetic.
  4. Keep other levels normal, cholesterol, triglycerides and others checked and in a normal range.
  5. No smoking, tobacco produces atherosclerosis which  that reduces blood flow including to the kidneys.
  6. Avoid taking pain medicine that contains ibuprofen or naproxen in a daily basis. These medicines tend to damage the kidney functions, ask your doctor for other ways of dealing with the pain or taking pills that are less aggressive on your kidneys.

Changing your habits to healthier ones, drinking enough water daily, avoiding medicines that damage your kidneys, exercising regularly are great ways to start preventing kidney failure. With age our body starts changing and all we do to it during our 40 years is reflected, many of our organs start failing because our blood flow decreases and all of the bad decisions we made with bad nutrition, drinking sodas and sugary drinks instead of water and becoming sedentary.